Coming Out to Professors and Classmates

Emails work great
A simple email explaining your situation to professors or classmates could make transitioning much easier. Emails can be useful in explaining your situation to professors that previously knew you by a different name. They can also be useful in informing professors that you go by a different name and gender than the one they have on the class roster.

Some general ideas of what to say in an email are:

  • Statement of the name/gender they have on class roster.
  • State preferred name and gender (“I prefer to be referred to by ____ pronouns”).
  • Brief explanation (“I identify as transgender, which means _____ to me.”).
  • “I prefer for no one to know about my transgender status” vs. “I would be willing to talk about being transgender as it related to class discussion” (depending on class and personal preference).
  • Thank them for being understanding.
  • Say they can email you if they have questions.
  • Provide your contact information.
  • Provide them with relevant websites for more information.

A sample email might look like this:

Dear ________,

I am a student in your _____   class this quarter; however, before class begins, I wanted to inform you of a change that is taking place in my life.
I identify as transgender, which, for me, means that I was born female, but I feel much more comfortable presenting myself as a man. This summer, I began a process to change my gender. It is something that I have been thinking about doing for a very long time, and I am much happier now that I have begun this process. I have almost completed a legal name change, and I am going through some gradual physical changes. I am changing my name legally from __________ to ___________ the first week of classes, and class rosters should reflect this change soon.
I wanted you to be informed of this change before class started. I would appreciate it if you could refer to me by male pronouns in your class and use the name of ______ instead of___________.
If you have any questions for me regarding this change or anything else, please don't hesitate to contact me either in person or through email. My email address is __________, and my phone number is _________.

Thank you,

Facebook and other online communities
Now that a majority of students are connected through Facebook (or other online communities), it is really easy to reach many people rather quickly instead of having to look up every individual’s email or to try to talk face to face with every person you know.

College/Department-wide listserves
Most departments have listserves that make it easy to get in touch with everyone in your program. You could utilize this type of listserve if broadcasting it is how you desire to come out.

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